Gay and Back Again

By Mia Rivera

As the lines of sexuality blur, many people find it hard to identify and categorize themselves into one box.

The label “straight” is given to those who are not and never have been attracted to someone of the same sex. “Gay” is used for those attracted only to people of their own gender, and “lesbian” for gay women. “Bisexual” people go both ways. But sexuality often isn’t as black and white as these definitions would make it seem.

What about those who had one relationship with someone of their own sex, and once that relationship ended, went back to dating people of the opposite sex without any suppressed feelings or longing? Where do these people fall?

Are they bisexual? Or, if they no longer desire another homosexual relationship, are they now “formally straight”? Or what?

Such people say that they are not hiding a part of themselves, nor do they feel that they are missing out on something. Rather, these relationships (longer-lasting and more meaningful than flings or random sexual encounters) were experiences they appreciated, learned and grew from.

Neither women I interviewed seemed to regret the decision to date another women, and both appeared quite content with the path their lives are on now, with their current boyfriends, moving forward.

“There’s no real difference besides her being a women,” Quane Randolfe says, referring to her former partner, Lauren. “I didn’t miss anything when I was with her. I loved her. She loved me. And that love felt the same to me.”

Though Randolfe says she is certain she wouldn’t date someone of the same sex again, it wasn’t because she was forcing herself to deny what she truly wanted. “Anything can happen…but I know I’m happy again now with him,” her boyfriend.

In her book Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity, the sexologist Dr. Janell Carroll speaks of sexuality as a continuous spectrum instead of the three distinct labels. One’s position on this spectrum can continuously shift, and your sexuality is essentially determined by where you are at any given moment of your life. So if you happen to find yourself attracted to someone of the same sex, you are homosexual at that moment; if you are attracted someone of the opposite sex, for that time you are straight. This theory could potential push the idea of sexual orientation into the bin of social constructs, along with race and gender.

In his 1920 Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, Sigmund Freud introduced the theory of “innate bisexuality.” He claimed that humans were born bisexual and as they psychologically developed, affected by both external and internal factors, they became monosexual. Freud believed that the bisexuality remained but was concealed and assumed that since bisexuality remained in its latent state, attraction to both sexes was capable throughout the individual’s life, thought people had a stronger preference for one sex or the other. Alfred Kinsey also believed in innate bisexuality, but he maintained that “most or all human beings are functionally bisexual to some degree, but may not express that bisexuality as behavior.”

Perhaps we will one day get to a point where labels no longer matter, and everyone feels free to experience any type of affection, attraction or love without judgment.